Twenty-six runners began a unique triathlon at High Falls State Park early on May 18. They tried, and succeeded, in not getting wet! Most triathlons follow the traditional swim, bike run with total distances from 13 to 140 miles. The Friends of High Falls State Park put a twist into their TRI Not to Get Wet! triathlon by making a few changes.

First, the event began with a three-mile trail run. Bill Langston enjoyed this leg of the race, finishing the treacherous course in 24:50. Runners became bikers for a hilly fourteen-mile course on the backroads of northern Monroe County. Kevin Groah and Kelly Johnson, the eventual top male and female finishers, were the top performers on this leg of the race with times of 45:14 and 48:37, respectively. The final leg of the triathlon did actually involve water, but it was meant to support the kayak portion of the race. Competitors enjoyed the scenery of High Falls State Park Lake while they cooled off and worked a different set of muscles on a one to 1.5 mile triangular course on the lake. Distances varied as tired athletes struggled to paddle in the straightest line possible. Penni Hartley commented that she learned to kayak the night before sitting on her living room floor.

The race ended with T-shirts (produced by Seven 5 Promotions), finisher medals featuring High Falls (produced by Harbin Repairs) and, most uniquely, edible awards for the top finishers in each age group – triangular chocolate chip cookies decorated with each participant’s age-group place. They were suitable for framing, but most competitors were too hungry to exercise that option.

Several observations could be made after the race. Usually at the end of an arduous competition that lasts on average over two hours, competitors aren’t sure they ever want to do it again. In this case most of the competitors were smiling at the end and promising to be back with friends in tow. Demographics were also interesting. Women participants outnumbered men two to one and the 50-59 Female age group was by far the largest in number. Age wasn’t a barrier to top performances either as the first six finishers, three men and three women, averaged 55 years of age. Who says we can’t get better with age!

Thank you to all of the volunteers who got there early and stayed until the last athlete finished. Thank you also to the High Falls State Park employees led by Park Manager, Steven Partin, and to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and High Falls Volunteer Fire Department for traffic control and keeping all of the participants safe.

Get on your shoes for a run, dust off your bike and kayak (or rent a kayak at HFSP) for a ride and a paddle and get ready for next year’s unique TRI Not to Get Wet!

See Page 2B for full race results.